The U.S. State Department faults China for the impasse in talks between China and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s envoys, calling prospects for renewed negotiations “dim,” according to a report to Congress on the status of the negotiations.
“We are very concerned that there has been no dialogue since early 2010 and that nine years of talks prior to that time have not borne concrete results,” the State Department said in its “Report on Tibet Negotiations” to lawmakers.
“Prospects for the Chinese government to resume the dialogue appear dim, at least in the short term,” the State Department said.
In June, the Dalai Lama’s envoys quit their posts as representatives to the talks, citing their “utter frustration over the lack of positive response from the Chinese side.”
The ruling Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which represents Beijing in the talks, also did not respond positively to proposals for “genuine autonomy” for the Tibetan people presented in 2008 and 2010, Tibet’s India-based government in exile, the Central Tibetan Administration, had said in a statement.
The latest, ninth round of talks was held in January 2010 after a 14-month hiatus. There has been no breakthrough in the discussions that have been held since 2002.
China has ruled Tibet since 1950, and the Chinese government has repeatedly accused exiled Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, of stoking dissent against its rule.
Fifty-one Tibetans have self-immolated so far in protests challenging Chinese policies in the region since the wave of fiery protests began in February 2009.
In its report to Congress, required each year by law, the State Department said the U.S. government “believes that the Dalai Lama or his representatives can be constructive partners for China as it deals with the challenge of overcoming continuing tensions in Tibetan areas.”
Noting that the Dalai Lama’s views “command the respect of the vast majority of Tibetans,” the State Department called on China to engage with the spiritual leader’s representatives to resolve tensions in Tibetan-populated regions of China.
“Failure to address these problems will lead to greater tensions inside China and will be an impediment to China’s social and economic development,” the State Department said, adding, “A tenth round of dialogue that makes progress on questions related to Tibetans’ livelihoods and welfare would be a positive step at this critical time.”
In a statement, Todd Stein, director for government relations at the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, hailed the U.S. “expectation that Beijing must take the next step.”
“The U.S. insistence on negotiations is not wavering even with the dialogue in a dormant phase,” Stein said.
Reported by Richard Finney.